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Readers' List: Greatest baseball season ever
From the Page 2 mailbag
On Monday, ESPN.com researcher Rico Longoria helped Page 2 list the greatest seasons in baseball history. We asked for your take, and you filled our mailbag with plenty of choices.
After going through more than 600 e-mails, we've listed Page 2 readers' top 10 choices below. Be sure to vote in the poll at left to crown the greatest baseball season in history.
1. 1998 (138 letters)
Without a doubt 1998, I believe it was the season that brought back America's pastime after the strike. The reasons: We saw Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa not only break but shatter the home run record, The Ironman ended his streak at 2,632, Wells threw a perfecto and the Yanks went on to win the World Series after setting the AL record for regular season wins at 114. The only season that may beat that is the current season!
Boston McGwire and Sosa with the HRs, Ripken sits down, Wood Ks 20, Wells throws a perfect game, the NL wild-card came down to the last day with three teams separated by a game and then the Cubs-Giants playoff game.
Fort Wayne, Ind.
2. 1991 (59 letters)
Minnesota Twins won the World Series. That automatically makes it a great season, but the fact that they, along with the Atlanta Braves, went from worst-to-first makes it even more memorable. Plus with Nolan Ryan's no-hitter, Dennis Martinez's perfect game, and Rickey Henderson breaking the stolen base record (which will never be broken), and the best Series ever, 1991 was the best season of them all.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa You're right. It's gotta be the 1991 season. Rickey got the steals record, but the best part of the whole season was the last 36 hours of it. Puckett's amazing Game 6 heroics got him into the Hall of Fame, the greatest quote in Minnesota sports history, and one of the best of all time in any sport's history ("... and we'll see you tomorrow night!") and then Jack Morris' amazing 10-inning defiance of the Braves was truly the way to end the greatest season and the greatest World Series in the history of the game.
Madison, Wis. The last great season before big money and television really started to move in on baseball was 1991. The Braves and the Pirates hooked up in a crazy finish and then the Twins and Braves met in one of the best World Series ever. Goes to prove that we need a salary cap in baseball more than anything, the divisions were so tight and close, that by the end of the season, anything could have happened. A great year with great stars, many of them in their twilight years, the next few years seemingly became a changing of the guards as today's stars started to come into their own. Where it all started -- 1991.
3. 1986 (56 letters)
My vote is for 1986. The regular season was outstanding, and the postseason was unforgettable with Dave Henderson's home run in the ALCS (which, unfortunately haunted Donnie Moore until his untimely death) and, of course, Bill Buckner's error. I will remember 1986 most though for the rookies. That year can be credited with the rookie baseball craze. Look at the lineup -- Wally Joyner, Jose Canseco, Will Clark, and guys named Bonds and McGwire who got a cup of coffee.
Honolulu For no other reason, 1986 had the finest postseason in baseball history. All three series produced such excruciating drama.To this day, I still insist that the greatest baseball game I ever watched was Game 5 of the '86 ALCS. The Game 6s of the World Series and of the NLCS would also fall into my top five.
4. 2001 (43 letters)
5. 1969 (33 letters)
The Miracle Mets. Willie Mays hits his 600th home run, joining Babe Ruth in the club. Sparky Anderson is hired by the Reds (hello, Big Red Machine!). Babe Ruth named greatest all-time player ... Joe DiMaggio named Greatest Living Player. And last but not least ... for all the Red Sox fans. Dick Williams pulls Carl Yastrzemski from the Boston lineup and fines him $500 for "dogging it."
6. 1961 (25 letters)
How could you overlook an amazing year? The home run chase between Roger and Mickey alone would get my vote. Forget that Whitey Ford went 25-4 and Ralph Terry went 16-3. In addition to Roberto Clemente's best all around year (.351 23 89) adding more than 200 hits and 10 triples! Hitting for power and average, combined with speed and an tremendous heart for the game. Former Hall of Famer and Cub great Billy Williams first full year. Not to mention, Carl Yastrzemski's rookie year with the Red Sox. The Yankees posting 109 wins, the most in baseball since 1927, going on to win the Series.
7. 1941 (14 letters)
8. 1995 (12 letters)
Coming off the strike you had the Mariners comeback over the Angels, the Indians and Albert Belle dominate until the World Series, and of course the Cal Ripken streak. A lot of people came back to loving baseball even after the strike because of this season. Without this season and these stories we would not have watched the ones after.
9. 1947 (10 letters)
Playa del Rey, Calif.
10. 1908 (8 letters)
Baseball has never seen pennant races like 1908. The top three teams in each league were within one game of each other. Never again would baseball see so many teams competing for so few postseason spots. Add in the incredible drama of Merkle's boner (and the Christy Mathewson vs. Three Finger Brown duel in the one-game playoff), the emergence of Ty Cobb as a superstar, and the dominance of Mathewson (led the league in wins, saves, innings, strikeouts, ERA, shutouts, complete games, et al.) and you have a phenomenal season that should not be forgotten.
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